Temple of Philae Aswan Egypt | Facts ISIS Temple, History and How long did it take to build, Plan, layout, Ancient Egypt Civilization

The Temple of Philae or Isis temple is one of the best Pharaonic temples in Aswan, Egypt and It is one of the top Aswan tourist attractions.

The temple of Isis is an amazing landmark in Aswan Egypt and It is the pearl of the Pharaonic temples where Christianity and pagan religions co-existed for well over a century.

Temple of Philae Aswan Egypt

In this article we will explain the importance of the site of Philae Island since antiquity and why it was chosen for building the Isis temple. Also, we will explain why the temple of Philae is unique and the legend of Isis and Osiris.

Meanwhile, the Philae temple has a Nilometer, Chapel of Goddess Hathor, and the famous Pharaonic feast of the goddess Isis every 10 days. Overall, we will explain how they saved Phaile Island after building the Aswan Dam from Begah island to Philae Island.

Temple of Philae Aswan Egypt

What is the meaning of Temple of Philae? | The City of Edfu

The Island has many names and the oldest mention of the Island is from the offering table of King Nectanebo I from the 30th Dynasty. In ancient Egypt, the island was called the Holy Cenotaph, The Holy Island, and the

The Greek name is Blek/Pilak, Philos) means sweetheart, Love

The Coptic name is “Belkh”, which means “the corner or, the end” because the Temple was built on Egypt’s southern border

The Islamic name is Pilak means a piece of land covered with the Nile Soil

Later, in Islamic times was called the island of Anas El Wogoud

where is the temple of Phaile located?

The temple of Philae is located in Upper Egypt, Aswan in the first Cataract almost 3 KM to the south of Aswan Dam and between the High Dam and Aswan Dam. Right now, the temple is 500m far from its original place on Agilika Island instead of Philae Island.

How to get to Phial temple?

It is easy to get to Philae temple whether from Luxor Tours, Aswan Day Tours, Marsa Alam, and Nile Cruise.

From Luxor

Aswan city is 300km to the south of Aswan and it takes more than three hours to drive from Luxor to Aswan. While the temple is 20 minutes by car from the Aswan city center.

From Aswan

The distance between Aswan city center and Philae temple is about 8km, so around 20 minutes driving.

From Nile Cruise

Whether you do your Nile Cruise Luxor Aswan or from Aswan to Luxor, the temple of Philae is included in all the Nile Cruise packages. To get to Philae temple from the Nile cruises, just 20 minutes by car.

From Marsa Alam Tours

The distance between Marsa Alam and Philae temple Aswan is about 250 km and it takes more than four hours.

Temple of Philae Aswan Egypt
Temple of Philae Aswan Egypt

What was the Temple of Philae used for?

The temple of Philae like all the Pharaonic temples considered the cult center of Gods, the place where people can visit their gods, pray to them, offer sacrifices, and ask about whatever they like. So, the temple of Philae was built for the Goddess Isis. For a very long time in Ancient Egyptian civilization, it was the It was a pilgrimage center for the cult of Isis for Egyptians and Nubians alike.

The temple of Philae Facts | ISIS temple

  1. The temple of Philae is considered the pearl of all the Ancient Pharaonic Temples
  2. ISIS temple on Philae Island is a Pharaonic temple built during the Greco-Roman Era.
  3. Phaile temple is a Nubian temple Considering Aswan the End of Egypt and the beginning of Nubia. Philae temple between Aswan Dam and THE High Dam in Nubia.
  4. The oldest discovered monument on Philae Island was for Nectanebo, 30th Dynasty of the Ancient Egyptian History.
  5. Philae Temple on Agilika Island is one of the most picturesque in all of Egypt
  6. The temple of Isis is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  7. Nectanebo Kiosk is believed to be the oldest monument of the complex till now
  8. Gateway of Hadrian is the last Roman potion added to the temple
  9. The last written in Egyptian hieroglyphs on the walls of the Philae temple dates back to 394 BC
  10. The Demotic language was used here for the last time in 452 BC
  11. Philae Island measures 460 m long and 150m wide.
  12. Philae temple was cut into 40000 blocks and it was rebuilt in 8 years
  13. The two obelisks standing in front of the temple were removed in 1918 by British Consul Henry Salt and his assistant Giovanni Belzoni to England.
  14. The Obelisks are now in a garden in Dorset, England but they played role in the Decipherment of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.
  15. The best sound and light show in Egypt are daily performed in the Philae temple
  16. Isis feast was celebrated every 10 days in the temple when she was visiting her husband Osiris on Begah Island
  17. Early Christians converted the temple into Church and they defaced and destroyed many figures and scenes

How long did it take to build the Temple of Isis?

  1. As long as we know, the first king who built a religious temple on the Island of Philae was king Taharqa on the 25th
  2. Ptolemy II Philadelphus built the Holy of Holies, the rooms around it, the Vestibule, Second Pylon.
  3. Ptolemy III Euergetes was the third pharaoh of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt from 246 to 222 finished what his father started and he finished the scenes.
  4. Ptolemy IV was the son of Ptolemy III and Berenice II lost control of Upper Egypt and the work stopped at Phaile
  5. Ptolemy V Epiphanes, the fifth king of Egypt Ptolemaic Period put Upper Egypt under his control again and restarted new extension to the temple.
  6. Ptolemy VI, the eldest son of King Ptolemy V and Queen Cleopatra I built a harbor that was used later as a base for the Trajan Kiosk, decorated Hathor temple, and some walls of the Mammisi.
  7. Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II wrote his name on one of the two Obelisks standing in front of the first Pylon
  8. Ptolemy IX Soter II added his photos to the side rooms in Isi’s temple
  9. Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysus decorated the two towers and parts on the walls of the forecourt and the temple took its final design now
  10. Roman Era
  11. There are so many Roman Emperors who added their names here without any new expansion.

 For example

  1. Augustus (31 BCE–14 CE)
  2. Tiberius (14–37 CE)
  3. Nerva (96–98 CE)
  4. Trajan (98–117 CE)
  5. Hadrian (reigned 117-138 CE)

What is the Temple of Phaile made of?

The temple of Philae or Isis temple was built with sandstone.

Plan of Philae Island

  1. Gate of Nectanebo
  2. Temple of Arisnophis
  3. Chapel of Mandulis
  4. Temple of Imhotep
  5. Temple of Hathor
  6. Gate of Hadrian
  7. Kiosk of Trajan
  8. Prostyle Temple Augustus
  9. Great Temple of Isis
  10. Temple of Harendotes
  11. Western Church
  12. Eastern Church
  13. Gate of Diocletian
  14. Eastern Colonnade
  15. Western Colonnade

ISIS temple Plan, layout

  1. 2 Lions statutes
  2. 2 Obelisks
  3. First Pylon
  4. Mammisi
  5. Open Forecourt
  6. Second Pylon
  7. Grand Hypostyle Hall with 10 Columns
  8. Three Vestibule
  9. The Sanctuary of Goddess ISIS
  10. Stairs to Osirian Rooms

The Rescue Operation of the temple of Isis

There are many Nubian monuments that were threatened by the construction of the dam such as

  1. The small temples of Debod, Kertassi, and Taffa, from the same period as Philae
  2. The large temple of Kalabsha
  3. The temple of Beit el Wali
  4. The small Dendur temple
  5. The rock temple of Ramses at Gerf Husein
  6. The Dakka temple
  7. The temple of Maharraqa,
  8. a temple of Wadi es Sebua
  9. Amada temple
  10. The temple of Derr
  11. a rock-cut chapel of Thutmosis III at Elleysia
  12. the two rock temples of Ramses II at Abu Simbel
  13. the small rock-cut chapel of Horemheb at Abu Oda

Saving the Nubian temples including the Philae temple

The original site of the temple is Philae Island which is 500 meters to the south of Agilika Island. Unfortunately, the temple became in danger for a few months yearly after building the Aswan Dam in 1902. The Nile flood and the rise of the water level behind the Aswan Dam caused the submerging of the temple under water.

UNESCO started a rescue mission to save the temple and relocate it into a new position. After many logics and unlogic opinions to keep the temple in a glass Capsule, or visit the temple with a submarine. However, Egyptian Engineer Ahmed Osman from Aswan suggested relocating the temple.

They chose near Island called Agilika Island but the problem was, that Agilika Island is 50m less than Philae Island, and the Nile in that area is 200m deep. An Italian constructing company started to prepare Agilika Island to take the same measurements as Philae, they used

  1. 1 million cubic meters of stones and sand
  2. They cut the temple into 65 000 pieces 1964
  3. They numbered them
  4. Stored them
  5. 5000 pieces were found by divers and rebuilt later

After 8 years of hard work, the temple was opened to the public in 1980with the cooperation of 50 countries.

The Cost of relocating Philae temple

They decided on 17 million, the cost was 80 million and Egypt paid 14%, and the rest by UNESCO.

Legends connected to Temple of Philae

There are many legends connected to Philae but the most well-known are 4 legends

1st Isis and Osiris and how she collected his pieces after he was murdered by his brother Seth

2nd The legend of Anas El Wogoud

3rd Healing power of Isis

4th The legend of the Nile Flood

Opening Hours

Edfu temple is open daily from 09.00 am to 17.00 pm.

How to reach the Philae temple?

The temple of Philae is on Agilika Island right now to the south of Aswan Dam, to reach the Island you have to take a motor boat for about 10 minutes.

 Ticket Price

You can purchase an Entrance ticket for Edfu Temple from the Ticket window which is next to the entrance of the temple and more from Aswan Tours.

Adult: EGP 200 (10.5 $)

Students with valid cards: EGP 100 (5.3 $)

Children aged 6-12 years: EGP 100 (5.3 $)

Children under 6 years: FREE